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NBA Waiver Wire: Working the Wire

Charlie Zegers

Charlie has covered the NBA, NFL and MLB for RotoWire for the better part of 15 years. His work has also appeared on,, the New York Times, ESPN, Fox Sports and Yahoo. He embraces his East Coast bias and is Smush Parker's last remaining fan.

The Answer is Back -- and Raising a Lot of Questions

Allen Iverson has accepted the Sixers' contract offer, and could be back in uniform for the franchise that drafted him first overall in 1996 by early next week. Iverson has signed a one-year deal for a pro-rated portion of the veteran's minimum salary - approximately $1.3 million - reports.

The Sixers will use Iverson to replace guard Louis Williams, who broke his jaw in a collision with Washington's Antawn Jamison in a game before Thanksgiving and will be out for two months. Theoretically, that means AI will have the starting job he's been craving since he was traded from Denver to Detroit last November.

Is he worth a roster spot? Sure, so long as you temper your expectations. So long as he's starting, there's no reason to think he can't average around 20 points per game, hit a few threes, and rack up solid steal and assist numbers. (His reputation as a ball-hog is well-established, but Iverson has actually averaged over six dimes per game for his career, and had 5 apg last season as an unhappy part-timer.)

The two big questions: how will Iverson's arrival impact the other Sixers, and what happens when Williams gets back?

If we assume Iverson is playing starter's minutes - and that seems like a safe assumption - we should also assume he'll be taking a lot of shots, and there's a limited number of shots in a game. That means fewer opportunities for everyone else. It could become an obstacle to Elton Brand finally putting up Elton Brand-style numbers in Philly. It also means Andre Iguodala will probably go back to playing on the wing more, which means he becomes more of a scorer and less of a distributor. It will be interesting to see how Eddie Jordan's new starting lineup takes shape - does Iverson play alongside Willie Green, or will Jordan continue to use rookie Jrue Holiday at the point, Iverson at the two and Iguodala at the three?

The latter option might make the most sense, as it would create the opportunity to slide Williams back into his starting spot in place of Holiday when he's ready to return.

Either way, the Sixers will be a little more interesting to watch for the next few weeks - which may have been the main reason for the signing.

The Most Added

The most popular adds in ESPN Leagues this week:

The Most Dropped

Picks for the Week

The first set of picks is for players in standard leagues - guys who will typically be available in your average 10 team/15 player roster league. The second group is for owners in very deep leagues, and will be based more on speculation than actual numbers. The third batch of players will be guys I've mentioned in previous columns that still seem to be available in a lot of leagues and worth a look.

All "percent owned" stats are taken from ESPN Fantasy Basketball - your mileage may vary.

Standard Leagues:

Danilo Gallinari (53.2% owned) - Gallo's "percent owned" won't stay in the fifties for long after last night's performance (27 points, 10 boards, 6-12 from three). And while I'm on the Knicks, Larry Hughes - also on this week's "most dropped" list - had 12 dimes in that game.

Anthony Morrow (48.6% owned) - Morrow's inconsistent game-to-game production may turn off some fantasy players. Don't think of him as a guy who'll score 27 one night and eight the next; think of him as a guy averaging 19 ppg over his last five games.

Carl Landry (48.6% owned) - A decent play when coming off the bench (18-plus points in four of his last five games) gets a short-term boost as a starter in place of the injured Luis Scola.

Ersan Ilyasova (27.6% owned) - As Brandon Jennings' production has tailed off (you didn't really expect him to shoot 55% from three all year, did you?) the Bucks' other European import has stepped up. Saturday's 20-point, 16-board performance got the attention of a lot of fantasy owners.

Will Bynum (19.6% owned) - Should continue to be a good option as long as Ben Gordon, Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince are out of action.

Deep Leagues:

James Harden (10% owned) - The rookie's role in the office continues to increase - he just put together a string of five straight games in double-figures. But his three-point shot is erratic - 4-6 against Washington on November 20, followed by an ugly 0-10 from three against the Lakers on the 22nd.

Luke Ridnour (6.5% owned) - Getting additional minutes with Michael Redd hurt yet again, Ridnour has actually been Milwaukee's most effective point guard for the last week or so. He tweaked a hamstring in Monday's win over the Bulls, though, so check the latest injury reports before making any claims.

Delonte West (3.0% owned) - The Cavs would love for one of their off-guards to step up and really own that job, and West could become the guy to do it. The talented-but-troubled guard racked up a double-double (10 points, 10 assists) in Saturday's win over Dallas.

Jamaal Tinsley (1.9% owned) - I didn't like Tinsley as a fantasy option when he first signed. "He's been on the shelf for too long," I reasoned, "and the obvious move is to make him the backup that Iverson refused to be." What changed? Mike Conley got hurt.

Matt Bonner (1.8% owned) - Bonner is shooting just a hair under 50 percent from three this season. He's this year's Troy Murphy - without the boards.

A Second Look:

In addition to Morrow, Bynum and Ilyasova, here are some players we've featured in past columns that are still worth a look...
Darren Collison (11.5% owned) - Still no word on Chris Paul's return date, which means Collison stays in the starting five for now.

Courtney Lee (5.9% owned) - New coach Kiki Vandeweghe says he's going to open up the Nets' offense a bit and focus on developing the youngsters.

Article first appeared on 12/2/09